Camp Dudley director Matt Storey talks about the renovations done at the boys camp after the 2011 spring floods.
The view from the cub cabins is quite different in 2012 as the youngest campers at Camp Dudley, YMCA, will have a breathtaking view of Lake Champlain.
It will be the first time they will have this view. First of all, there used to be trees in their way, and second of all, when those trees were damaged or fell into the lake during the spring 2011 floods, the cabins were also in danger and not usable.
But as a new camping season opened June 26, every cabin on the property and every beach area was set for the summer, according to camp director Matt Storey.
“We are back and better than ever,” Storey said. “We rebuilt over 80 footers on the cabins and have all 41 cabins ready for the season.”
Last year, campers stayed in three yurts that were placed on the grounds while work was done to fix the lakeshore and repair the cabins.
“Travis Sheehan and Sheehan and Sons did a great job, and they were a terrific partner on this project,” Storey said. “Ted Taylor of Taylor Tree Service helped us to replant trees in and around the cabin and Peter Gibbs did a great job as our engineer for what needed to get done.”
With all of the cabins back in operation, the yurts were taken down earlier this spring.
“Now, they are just three funny circles in the middle of the grass,” Storey said.
Storey said that using local businesses at Camp Dudley was not just limited to the work that was done after the floods.
“We try to bring in as much local supplies as we can,” he said. “We work with Adam Hainer at Juniper Hill Farm as well as DaCy Meadow for our produce. We also send campers and leaders to the Juniper Hill to learn about organic gardening. We also get our flour from the grainery here in Westport. Keeping things local has been one of my key areas of focus since I have been here.”
Camp Dudley is going to need all of the food and all of the cabins for the upcoming year.
“We have 350 boys coming for the first half of the season and 340 for the second,” Storey said. “This is probably our biggest ever camp, and we have been getting calls every couple of days from people asking if there is room and we have to say no. It’s a nice situation to be in, but you hate to say no to anyone.”
Storey also said the season set a record for scholarships awarded to attend the camp.
“We gave out close to $700,000 in scholarships for boys to attend, and we feel pretty good about that,” he said.
While leaders and staff had been at the camp for the past few weeks, preparations for the season had ramped up as the days counted down to opening day.
“On Tuesday (June 26) morning, there will be 50 people here and by 2 p.m. there will be 500,” Storey said. “It’s a great time of year as the staff and the campers start to roll in.”
Storey is the 12th director of Camp Dudley, YMCA, which was formed in 1885 and has been rooted in Westport since 1908. It is the oldest continually running summer camp in the country and welcomes boys ages 10-1/2 to 15.